Celebrating Constitution Day
Celebrating Constitution Day at your school.
Host a school-wide Constitution Day at school by combining the efforts of the social studies, English and journalism teachers.
• Students will learn more about the Constitution
• Students will explore how the Constitution fits with their daily lives
• Students will revisit the rights guaranteed by the Amendments.
Common Core State Standards
||Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary describing political, social, or economic aspects of history/social science.
||Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9-10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
||Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and task.
Materials / resources
Prior to the celebration:
Students should make banners that say Happy Constitution Day!” and hang them at entrances
Secure donations for prizes from local businesses.
Photocopy the card students will receive as they arrive
Submit the announcement to be read at the beginning of the day .
Have students create shirts, which read, “Happy Constitution Day!”
Get candy or other treats for students to pass out when people get the answer correct
Crossword puzzle, “U.S. Constitution”
List of questions for students
Happy Constitution Day! We are celebrating Constitution Day today, Sept. 17 and we can’t wait for you to celebrate it with us. In addition to the quiz you received on your way into school today, you will be able to participate during lunch and in at least one of your classes. In addition, please look at the posters in the hall concerning how you could win a LOCAL BUSINESS gift card. You’ll also see several students with special T-shirts. If you answer their question correctly, you just might get a prize.
Photocopy the following:
Quiz for students entering school (delete answers prior to distribution)
X hour teacher ________________
- In what year was the Constitution ratified? (1788)
- Name two of the signers of the Constitution. (many, see link)
- How many Amendments are in the Bill of Rights? (10)
- What is the subject of the first article of the Constitution? (Legislative branch)
- Name one right guaranteed in the First Amendment. (religion, speech, press, assembly, petition)
Rules: We will randomly select the winner. The first quiz selected with all correct answers wins a LOCAL BUSINESS gift card.
Back: Info about photo scavenger hunt (see below).
Text for posters/Photo Scavenger Hunt
“Want a free burrito?”
Find examples of the Constitution in action and you might just get one. When you find an example, take a photo, write a caption and post to Twitter or Instagram using #YOURSCHOOLIDHEREcd2015. If you don’t have either a Twitter or Instagram, email your entry to YOUR MEDIA EMAIL HERE. Entries must be submitted by (SET TIME IN AFTERNOON) today to be eligible for the drawing. Two winners will be chosen randomly from all the entrants.
During Constitution Day:
• When students arrive:
Media students should hand out the information with the quiz on one side and the photo scavenger hunt on the other side
• Students who are wearing Constitution Day shirts:
Prior to the beginning of the day, distribute the list of questions and answers. When students approach the media students wearing the shirts, they should ask them one of the questions on the list. If the student answers correctly, they get a prize.
Questions (and answers):
- What three words begin the Preamble? (We the people)
- What three branches of governmental powers are outlined in the Constitution? (Legislative, Executive, Judicial)
- How many Amendments are there to the Constitution? (27)
- What Amendment guarantees freedom of speech? (First)
- What Amendment guarantees freedom of press? (First)
- What Amendment guarantees freedom of assembly? (First)
- What Amendment guarantees freedom of religion? (First)
- What Amendment guarantees freedom of petition? (First)
- What Amendment protects against unreasonable search and seizure? (Fourth)
- What Amendment abolished slavery? (13)
- How old must you be to vote? (18)
- Do you have to be a natural-born citizen to vote? (no)
- What are the first 10 Amendments called? (Bill of Rights)
- Where was the first Constitutional Convention? (Philadelphia)
- Was the Equal Rights Amendment ratified? (no)
- What year was the Constitution ratified? 1788, 1888 or 1988 (1788)
- Did the Constitution go into effect before or after the French Revolution? (before)
- True or false: You have to be legally an adult for the Constitution or its Amendments to apply to you. (false)
• Lunch activities
- Hang five sheets labeled with each of the five freedoms guaranteed in the First Amendment. Ask students to write down one of their favorite things about Constitution. You could give candy or some other treat to encourage participation.
- Calligraphy station — Ask for a community volunteer to run it.
- Crossword puzzle — See resources
• English class activity options
Activity 1: Constitution content
Step 1 — 15 minutes
Teachers should ask students to get in groups of four. After this is done, project the following:
You find yourself stranded on an island with 15,000 people. The island has a semi-functioning society with most modern conveniences, but no way off. No electronic devices have coverage and there’s no 3D printer or boat manufacturer. A small group of four people have been tasked with creating a document to outline a basic government and the people’s rights. You have 10 minutes to do this. What would you include? Time starts now.
Step 2 — 5 minutes
Pass out copies of the Constitution. Ask students to highlight similarities in what they created and what was created years ago.
Step 3 — 5 minutes
Ask students to share their similarities and differences. Teacher (or another student) could make a list of these on the board.
Step 4 — 10 minutes
Ask students how the Constitution is still relevant today.
What do all the Amendments mean?
Copy the Constitutional amendments and cut them into strips.
Also, have blank paper available for students
Step 1 — 5 minutes
Ask students to partner with another person in class. Then, ask students to randomly select one of the strips of paper.
Step 2 — 20 minutes
First, students should look up any work they don’t already know.
Then they should write the amendment using their own words.
Look up words you don’t know
Put the amendment in your own words
Provide an example
Make a poster (using the blank paper) the has the amendment in the students’ own words and example.
(Teacher could post these inside or outside the classroom.)
Step 3 — 10 minutes
Students should present their poster to the class.
Social Studies classes:
Prior to class:
Make a copy of the list below. Additionally, cut the clues into strips.
Step 1 — 5 minutes
Divide class into three teams. Each team sends one member to the front to draw a picture of the word or phrase. Each member of each team participates in turn. Drawers cannot speak, spell or use numbers. All three teams use the same word and act at the same time. The team to guess the word or phrase first wins one point.
The right to bear arms
Freedom of speech
The right to an attorney
Voting age of 18
All persons born in the US are citizens of the U.S.
Congress makes the laws
The President is the Commander-in-Chief
The President can veto a law.
The right to have witnesses testify for you in court.
The right to face your accuser and/or question witnesses against you.
The right to assemble peacefully
No cruel and unusual punishment
Slavery is forbidden.
The Constitution is the supreme law of the land.
The right to petition the government
The Supreme Court can decide if laws are constitutional (“judicial review”)
Freedom of the press.
The president appoints judges.
The Constitution can be amended.
States have some powers reserved for them.
Freedom of religion
The right to trial by jury
Government cannot discriminate based on race (“equal protection of the law”)
Each state has 2 senators.
The federal government makes money (the states cannot make money)